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Fifi's craft: Wearable Art 1 - 7 September

Wearable Art 1

Here are some of the techniques I used to create 'Kanugi Kodama' my WOW creation for 2009.

Try using some of these processes to create your own wearable art.

Dyed Textures

I came into some old cotton kimonos, but any cotton or silk based fabric will take dye. Don't use polyester or nylon, because it just won't take!

You will need:
Water based dye
A large tub to dye the fabric in
Sewing machine 


1) Make up dye according to the instructions. If you aren't planning to wash the fabric again when it is made up, don't worry about adding salt. I made up three separate shades of dye; yellow, red and brown. This gave me the autumn colours I needed. Use a big tub- plastic buckets are good.
2) Put your clean dry fabric into the dye baths and swish it around a little. Leave them for ten minutes or so. Wring it out gently and peg on a line to dry.
3) Flick other dye colours onto the dried fabric with a paintbrush. Spray bottles (the sort you use for misting plants) are great for this too.


1) Set up your sewing machine with an embroidery foot. I used gold thread in the top feed of the machine. It has a tendency to snap from time to time but just be patient and re-thread; it gives a great effect.
2) Free-sew your dyed fabric. The embroidery foot will give you lots of freedom to sew in a circular pattern so that you can create lumps and bumps, puckers and wrinkles.
3) Hand sew any bits you can.

When making up your garment, think about it fitting a variety of sizes. Mine was in the children's section so I wanted it to be comfortable and easy to put on. So I used shirring elastic to make a stretchy top to the dress part of the costume. Easy to do with a sewing machine- make sure you put the shirring elastic in the bobbin- not the top feed. This gave the dress a great texture as well as being practical.